Corona, Climate, Migration: Von der Leyens “Speech on the State of the EU”

In her first such address, the head of the commission addresses the most pressing problems facing the EU. Expectations from them are high.

In her first speech on the State of the European Union, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wants to show a way out of the Corona crisis on Wednesday from 9 a.m.

Specifically, she wants to propose a drastic tightening of the EU climate target for 2030 in order to accelerate the conversion to a green economy without greenhouse gases. In addition, the basic lines of a new asylum and migration policy should become clear. We will keep you posted here.

Expectations are high for the speech by the 61-year-old, who took office in December 2019. “We need clarity and concrete measures to create a sovereign Europe that protects its citizens, its values ​​and its future,” said Liberal Group leader Dacian Ciolos. Green politician Sven Giegold said: “Your second year must be a year of action.”

Five points that should become important in the speech in the Brussels EU Parliament:

Corona crisis: In July, the EU countries agreed on a seven-year budget worth a trillion euros and a debt-financed corona development program worth 750 billion euros. But a compromise with the European Parliament is still pending. Von der Leyen wants decisions quickly because the economic crisis could get worse in autumn. In addition, the head of the Commission is likely to demand a more uniform line in the EU for measures against the health crisis.

Climate: The EU is to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent below the 1990 level by 2030 – this new target of the EU Commission has already leaked through. It is a drastic tightening of the previous target of minus 40 percent and requires considerably more speed in the restructuring of energy supply, industry, transport and agriculture. Von der Leyen sees the opportunity to use the money from the Corona program to change direction in the economy. This is to be combined with the “twin goal” of digitization, which was also given a boost by the crisis.

Migration: After five years of bitter dispute in the EU, the Commission wants to present its concept for a new asylum and migration policy next week. Because of the fire disaster and the great need in the Greek refugee camp Moria, von der Leyen has already brought the topic forward. In her speech she wanted to name the first basic features of the reform, but not in too many details.

Rule of law: Von der Leyen emphasizes how important the issue is to her – an independent judiciary, separation of powers, freedom of the media and freedom of expression, all of these are fundamental values ​​of the EU. There are currently two construction sites: For the first time, the EU has checked the weaknesses in all 27 EU states as a kind of rule-of-law TÜV and wants to submit the reports soon. It is even more difficult to implement the plan to link the disbursement of EU funds to compliance with such values. Above all, Hungary is standing upside down.

Europe in the world: Von der Leyen initially announced a “geopolitical commission”, and now it is called upon in a large number of crises. The dispute with Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean, the power struggle in Belarus, the tensions with Russia, the rivalry with China and the difficult partnership with the USA – all of these should be an issue for von der Leyen. Not to forget: Brexit and the dreaded hard break with Great Britain in early 2021.


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